We’ve discussed in this blog the known risks that can contribute to hearing loss. Genetic factors, being born with hearing loss, noise-induced hearing loss, diet, and what you consume are just some of them. We’re going to go over the latest studies on the impact of hearing loss on smokers.
Whether you are a smoker or are exposed to secondhand smoke, the chemicals from cigarettes can have serious consequences on your health.
A study from this past January of 2022 exposed a connection between regular smokers and hearing difficulties. This study was published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, reviewed hearing loss patterns over a 30-year span that covered three groups: never/former smokers, people who quit smoking during the study, and smokers who continued smoking during the study. The smokers who never quit had poor results on their hearing tests.
Previous studies had similar patterns - the high risks affected non-smokers who live with a smoker. They were two times more likely to develop hearing loss than individuals who had no exposure. About 80 percent of the test subjects were unaware that the health of their hearing was affected.
It’s been shown that smoking is also closely related to dizziness, vertigo, and tinnitus.
Smoking’s Impact on Hearing Health
The nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarettes reduces oxygen levels in the blood. They also constrict blood vessels throughout the body, which include the ones located in the inner ear which function to maintain the health of hair cells. Nicotine and cigarette smoke may:
Smoking and Tinnitus
Smoking may induce tinnitus, but more research is needed to verify this. There has been “sufficient evidence” that smoking is connected to tinnitus. This indicates that rates of tinnitus are higher in smokers than non-smokers, but there is no conclusive evidence of the direct cause-and-effect.
Smoking and Ear Infections
Smoking has been connected to ear infections in children and adults. The immune system becomes weaker and ravages tissues located in the nose and throat. This is what makes them more vulnerable to infections that harm the ears.
Due to the anatomy of children’s ears, they are already at a higher risk of ear infections. That risk becomes more serious when they come in contact with secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke can cause more frequent and more severe asthma attacks, infections to the respiratory system, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). There have been some instances where middle ear infections in children caused loss of hearing.
Check out our article “What is the link between Vaping and Hearing Loss?” to learn more about the impact of vaping on hearing health.
Positive Outcomes from JAMA Study
According to the aforementioned 2022 JAMA study, former smokers had better hearing test results than those who smoked regularly. This proved that quitting can benefit your hearing health and your overall health.
The American Lung Association revealed that your blood pressure decrease and your circulation gets better 20 minutes after smoking your last cigarette. In about 8 hours, the carbon monoxide and oxygen levels in your body go back to normal. In about 48 hours, your sense of smell and taste will get better, while your nerve ending starts to regenerate.
If you have hearing loss and smoke, take the steps to quit smoking for good. If you are concerned about your hearing or notice hearing loss, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing test and consultation.